In my job as a computer tech, I have seen it all – from the simply surprising to the most horrifying thing that can happen to a computer and its hard drive. These are just a few of my stories…
A Western Digital 172AA arrived in numerous pieces, and it was totally wrecked. According to the customer, a pin on the data connector broke off.
Their tech attempted to repair the broken pin with some creative rigging… he pulled what was left of the pin out and soldered it to its original location and a surface-mount chip and then soldered a piece of wire to it. Then soldered the other end to exposed wire on a IDE cable, making a bridge.
(Sorry I have no pictures of the IDE cable)
This apparently did not work, as it most likely caused a short and resulted in another surface-mount chip to burn.
For whatever reasons, the tech at this point proceeded to attempt to open the cover on the hard drive. He missed the screws under the label and seemed pretty darn determined to get the cover off, so he pried at the cover with a screwdriver.
After jabbing and poking the hell out of the platters (note: this prying also bent the platters too, nice wobble as they turn)… I guess he realized that there was two screws still holding the cover. Once he got the cover removed, he then attempted to remove the platters… possible attempt to pop out the platters and transplant them to another hard drive housing?
The customer then brought the corpse of the hard drive to me, and I informed them that if the first tech had done nothing I would have been able to recover the data. I recommended that the hard drive be sent to a data recovery company, but with all the damage I would say that the data is probably lost. It’s difficult to believe that it all started with a broken pin…
There’s not much of a story to go with this one; the user dropped his notebook, and it stopped working. Before bringing it to me, he removed the hard drive from the laptop and heard something broken moving around inside. He figured it would be either broken head assembly or platter, and he was right – his platter had broken. Of course, it didn’t help that the platter was made of glass so it was extra fragile! (It kind of looks like Pac-Man doesn’t it?)
The moral of the story? Backup often.